Here Come the Uber, the Grab and the Uhop…

After the Mega Taxi, Vehicle-for-Hire (VFH), the P2P, the GT Service and the UV Express Service, now come the Uber, Grab and Uhop services, all inventions of the LTFRB intended allegedly to enhance transport mobility of the public.

These, notwithstanding the moratorium adopted and prescribed by the LTFRB upon recommendation of the City Council, owing to the traffic congestion already being felt building up in the city beginning 1995.

Supposedly, all CPC or franchise applications to operate public utility vehicles (PUVs) during moratorium should secure Route Measured Capacity (RMC) Certification from the DOTC Secretary and the consent or recommendation of the Local Government Unit (LGU) in our case, Baguio City through the City Council.

Unfortunately, these requirements were not observed both by the applicants and LTFRB personnel accepting CPC applications for years now since moratorium was declared in 1996, thereby resulting in the thousands of irregularly issued franchises in Baguio City and CAR.

Similarly now, since we cannot expect the LTFRB-CAR to refuse acceptance of Uber, Grab and Uhop applications, it goes without saying that again we will be flooded with irregularly issued CPCs which will add up to the thousands already issued despite the moratorium.

In fact there are indications that Uber, Grab and Uhop otherwise known as Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) will be more worse than the previous modes of services issued with franchises notwithstanding the moratorium. For, even before these TNVS applications were filed, their units have been seen operating and plying their intended routes within Baguio City to any point in the Island of Luzon except Metro Manila. They in fact were already issued Provisional Authorities to operate upon filing of their applications good for forty five (45) days and expectedly, these Provisional Authorities will be renewed since the LTFRB has committed itself to admit TNVS as additional mode of service purportedly for the benefit of the public who allegedly need to be more mobile.

While some oppositions have been filed from existing other modes of transport service like the buses and the taxis, it is doubtful whether these oppositions will prosper since by all indications a bold lobby has been engaged in by the TNVS companies. This is obvious from the fact that the TNVS units are able to operate without having filed their applications. Never in the history of franchising beginning from the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Board of Transportation (BOT), through the Land Transportation Commission (LTC) and start of the LTFRB has this special treatment given to CPC applicants except now, for the sake of Uber, the Grab and the Uhop TNVS.

What is sweet smelling with the TNVS companies that their members can start operating without a franchise and are able to secure Provisional Authorities to operate even in the absence of initial hearing determinative of the requisite urgent need? Is it the alleged P170,000 paid out by a member to be included in the list of applicants. Maybe. Only the LTFRB and/or the TNVS company concerned can probably answer the question!